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Bristol Beaufighter VIF

by Alex Bernardo


Beaufighter VIF


Kit: Matchbox 1/72 Scale Beaufighter X




The subject Beaufighter was attached to the 416th NFS (Night Fighter Squadron) stationed in Algiers on August 1943. The Squadron was equipped with Beaufighter Mk VIF, until mid 1945 when they received Mosquitos.

416 Squadron's Beaufighters were fitted with either Mk I (arrow-head) or Mk VII/VIII (thimble-nose) AI radar sets. The Squadron claimed four confirmed victories by the end of the war.






The kit cockpit simply consisted of a seat, rear bulkhead, and floorboard. I therefore decided to beef up this area.

The following scratchbuilt built items were added to the cockpit:

  • Main instrument panel was made from two styrene sheets with different thickness and various generic control bezels; 

  • Added pilot's side consoles;

  • Various gauge panels on both sides of the cockpit;

  • Modified a control yoke from Italeri's B-25; 

  • Gun sight was made from different diameter discs cut from styrene rods;

  • Painted thin strips of masking tape for seatbelts; 

  • Generic brass rudder pedals; 

  • Main instrument panel shroud was made from three styrene panels glued and sanded to round off the joints.

All these cockpit modifications may sound pretty standard. What made this phase of the project difficult was that I decided to detail the cockpit after the fuselage halves were glued together and other external details were applied!


External Modifications

External modifications included:

  • Removal of the Mk X's "Dorsal fillet" and filling the gaps on the fuselage and vertical stab with styrene pieces and super glue.

  • All small holes were eliminated by applying primer and sanding until a smooth surface was achieved.

  • Navigation and landing lights were made from pieces of clear styrene cut and shaped from clear sprue trees.

  • Landing light lenses and navigation light bulbs were acheived by drilling a small hole and painting the appropriate colors. Crew entry hatches were scribed on to the bottom of the fuselage.

  • Oil cooler intake grills were made with a piece of wire placed vertically and two small horizontal styrene strips on top of the wire.

  • Tropical air filters were formed from small styrene blocks.

  • Intake nozzles were added on to the exhaust dampers. They were made from small drilled out styrene rods.

  • Drilled out shell ejection chutes.

  • New canopy and observer's dome were made using the "Heat-n-Smash" technique. After polishing the kit's original clear parts, they were used as male molds for creating "Heat-n-Smash" canopies.



Painting and Finishing 


The model was painted overall with Aeromaster's "Medium Sea Gray" acrylic paint followed by Testors' "Dark Green" acrylic paint. I sprayed on Tamiya's "Clear Gloss" acrylic paint before applying decals. The panel lines were highlighted with a thinned mixture of Tamiya's "Smoke" acrylic paint. 

Decals were custom made and were printed on an Alps printer.

I sprayed a coat of Polly Scale "Clear Flat" acrylic paint after the decals had set.

Exhaust collector rings were painted using Testors' enamel paint mixture of steel, brass, and flat black. Landing gear was painted with Testors' "Flat Gray" enamel. Tires were painted with Polly Scale's "Grimy Black" acrylic paint.

Models, Description and Images Copyright 2000 by Alex Bernardo
Page Created 17 June, 2000
Last Updated 26 July, 2007

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